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|Dear Agony Aunt,
Written by Anselm
(10/18/2009 1:54 p.m.)
Two dear friends of mine, a retired army colonel and a sweet young woman (whom I shall merely identify as "M") who has been cruelly abused by a previous lover ("W"), are about to marry. I wish them the very best in their new lives, but two things worry me.
Firstly, in his youth the colonel fell deeply in love with a near relation, but their elopement was thwarted and the pair were separated. She subsequently went, as the saying goes, to the dogs, and they were only reconciled virtually on her deathbed, something that has left severe emotional scars to this day. He has told me many times that M reminds him forcibly of this early love. I can't help thinking that this is not the most secure basis for a marriage. Is he simply trying to relive this early love, rather than having any feeling for his fiancee as such?
Secondly, the woman's own mother has told me that she has been pushing for this union for some time, as has her sister and brother-in-law. She had invited the colonel for tea as often as she could in order to throw them together at every opportunity. M herself told me that the colonel stood by her and did the best he could for her when she was abandoned by her boyfriend, and subsequently when she fell dangerously ill. She confided to me that the intimate knowledge of his goodness, together with the sudden revelation of his fond attachment to herself, persuaded her to agree to marry him. I know how deeply she was in love with W, and I also know that that depth of feeling was greater (how much so I can't say) than hers for the colonel, although I have no doubt that, because she cannot love by halves, her heart is quite capable of becoming in time as much devoted to him as it was to W. However, she has never actually told him that she loves him, as opposed to being touched by his qualities and his love for her.
Should I make an effort to persuade her to think again, and to more honestly appraise her feelings for him? If they marry, will their marriage be a stable one?
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